Nenshi says Alberta needs the federal contact tracing app as province sees 410 new COVID cases

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“Social contact is a major contributor to those higher rates of infection,” Sampson said. “We need to tighten up our bubbles and sit together in our smaller cohorts.”

Sampson has also called for the federal contact tracing app to come to Alberta.

The provincial government said in August that Alberta would adopt the federal contact tracing app after months of issues with the provincial app, ABTraceTogether. For that app to work properly, users on Apple devices had to leave it running in the foreground with their phones unlocked at all times, an issue that led to concerns about privacy and practicality.

Nenshi added that he heard reports that United Conservative ministers had mocked the federal app in the legislature Tuesday as “Trudeau’s app.” The Hansard transcript of Tuesday’s Question Period doesn’t have a record of such a comment, but it was reported as part of heckling in the chamber.

Nenshi said he’s concerned about “politicization of public health.”

“Stop it. We don’t need that kind of partisanship here,” Nenshi said. “We’ve got to keep people safe, and I just hope that we go ahead and sign off on it as soon as possible.”

Health Minister Tyler Shandro told reporters Wednesday that the delay comes down to making sure the 247,000 people who already downloaded Alberta’s contact tracing app can be “transitioned” to the federal one.

“It only works if we have a certain amount of people who are going to be downloading it,” he said. “We need, for this to be effective in Alberta, for there to be a good base of downloads. That’s why we’re having that conversation with (the federal government) right now to make sure that transition is smooth.”

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